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Benson (Arizona)

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The historic Benson Motel in downtown Benson

Benson is a town in Southeast Arizona.

Understand[edit]

Map of Benson (Arizona)

Benson is a historic rail town, and is one of the few towns in the region which still has passenger rail service. For visitors there is little of interest in the town itself, but it does offer a range of options for accommodation and as such can be a good base for exploring the region.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Replica of the Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, now used as the Visitor Center

By train and bus[edit]

  • 1 Amtrak, 105 E 4th St. Served by two routes: the Sunset Limited and Texas Eagle. Nearby is a replica of the Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, which is occasionally used as a visitor center.
  • 2 Greyhound, 618 S Village Loop (McDonald's off of Hwy 80), toll-free: +1 800-231-2222. As this just a pick-up and drop-off point, tickets should be purchased beforehand online or over the phone.

By car[edit]

Interstate 10 (I-10) is the main thoroughfare, with access from the northwest from Tucson and from the east from New Mexico.

Get around[edit]

There is no public transportation so visitors will need to have their own wheels.

See[edit]

Kartchner Caverns
San Pedro Valley Arts & Historical Society
  • 1 Kartchner Caverns State Park (9 miles S of Benson on Hwy 90), +1 520 586-2283. Mid-Dec - end of May: daily 8AM-6PM; June - mid-Dec: daily 9AM-5PM. A living limestone cave with beautiful speleothems. The park also has two scenic hiking trails (map available here), as well as a campground with water (see listing below). Reservations for the cave tour are required. Cave tour: $23 (adults), $13 (children 7-13), $5 (children under 7); park admission: $7 (car). Kartchner Caverns State Park on Wikipedia Kartchner Caverns State Park (Q387762) on Wikidata
  • 2 Gammons Gulch Movie Set and Museum, 331 W Rockspring Ln (off of Pomerene Rd, north of Benson), +1 520 212-2831, e-mail: . Sep-May W-Su 9AM-4PM, other times of year by appt. only. This is a working movie set so it is best to call before arrival, as the site is closed to visitors during filming. There is also a small onsite museum with movie memorabilia and antiques.

Do[edit]

French Joe Canyon, Whetstone Mountains
  • Butterfield Overland Stage Days, +1 520 586-2842. An annual three-day event held in mid-October commemorating the Overland mail route of the US Post Office Pony Express. A horse is ridden with mail from Benson to Dragoon with special postage stamp cancellation. The event also features entertainment and food. Free.
  • 2 Whetstone Mountains. The Whetstones are known primarily as the backdrop for Kartchner Caverns, and for Mescal Springs, where Wyatt Earp shot and killed Curly Bill Brocius during the Earp Vendetta Ride in 1882. Most recently they have been noted for confirmed and extremely rare jaguar sightings. They offer a few challenging trails and climbing routes, as well as opportunities for birdwatching. This remote range does not receive many visitors, so hikers should take appropriate precautions. Whetstone Mountains on Wikipedia Whetstone Mountains (Q4019477) on Wikidata
    • 3 French Joe Canyon (S of Kartchner Caverns, turn W onto dirt road just before mileage marker 300). Named after an early prospector, this canyon has reliable springs and is a good location for avid birders. It makes for a very challenging hike, and a 4WD is necessary to get to the trailhead. A good trail description can be found here. Allow at least 5 hours. Free.
    • 4 Guindani Trail (#398). Hikers on this steep trail are rewarded with excellent views of the San Pedro Valley, with the Huachuca and Dragoon Mountains in the distance. Although the trail is almost entirely on National Forest Land, the trailhead is located within Kartcher Caverns State Park so an entrance fee is required. Allow 2.5-3 hours. $7 (park admission).

Buy[edit]

  • 1 Singing Wind Bookshop, 700 W Singing Wind Rd (off of N Ocotillo Rd), +1 520 586-2425. Daily 9AM-5PM. Independent bookshop specializing in books on the region, with hard-to-find titles. The shop can be difficult to find; good directions are available here. No credit cards.

Eat[edit]

  • 1 Benson Donuts, 690 N Ocotillo Rd, +1 520 586-3966. Sa-Tu 8AM-9PM, W-Fr 6AM-9PM. Independent donut shop.
  • 2 Mi Casa Restaurant, 732 W 4th St (next to the Rock Shop), +1 520 245-0343. M-F 11AM-7PM. A very popular Mexican restaurant, unassuming from the outside but well worth the effort to seek out.
  • 3 Safeway, 599 W 4th St, +1 520 586-9094. Daily 6AM-12AM. Has a full-service deli and pharmacy.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

View of the Dragoon Mountains from Benson

Lodging[edit]

  • 2 Comfort Inn, 630 S Village Loop, +1 520 586-8800, fax: +1 520-586-1370. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12PM. Free breakfast and wi-fi, nonsmoking, pool, pet-friendly. $89/night.
  • 4 Quarter Horse RV & Motel, 800 W 4th St, +1 520 586-3371. Has only four rooms which fill up quickly.

Camping[edit]

  • 6 Kartchner Caverns State Park, Hwy 90 (9 miles S of Benson, see listing above), +1 520-586-2283 (reservations). All sites have electric hookup and water; toilets and showers available. Suitable for RV hookups as well as tents. $25/night (cash or credit card).

Connect[edit]

  • 2 Benson Public Library, 300 S Huachuca St (on the corner of Huachuca and 6th Sts), +1 520 586-9535, e-mail: . M Th 10AM-7PM T W 10AM-6PM, F 10AM-5PM, S 10AM-1PM, Su closed. Computers with internet access available, as well as free wi-fi in the building during opening hours.

Cope[edit]

Go next[edit]

Routes through Benson
Los AngelesTucson  W Amtrak Sunset Limited icon.pngAmtrak Texas Eagle icon.png E  LordsburgSan Antonio
PhoenixTucson  W I-10.svg E  WillcoxLas Cruces
END  N Arizona 80.svg S  TombstoneDouglas


This city travel guide to Benson is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.